Over the summer, I attended the Missouri Urban Journalism Workshop (MUJW) at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It was a six-day workshop filled with laughs, new experiences, and hard work while I experienced the life of a college-student journalist.
When I arrived at Mizzou for the workshop, I wasn’t the happiest. I just got back from the week-long Missouri Girls State at UCM, and I just wanted to be home. But that feeling soon disappeared. Everyone welcomed me with a big smile, and I knew I was in the right place. As the week continued, the campus and people surrounding me felt like home. I loved everything about Mizzou and the journalism program there; it seemed like the perfect place for me.
I was one of 27 students attending MUJW, so it was a very exclusive program to be a part of. Sophie Koritz, a member of the Washington High School’s newspaper The Advocate, and I were the only participants from Washington to attend the workshop, so there were plenty of new people to connect with. This aspect placed me out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to take a risk.
The whole purpose of this workshop was to get real-life journalism experience, so all 27 of us spent the six days going around downtown Columbia, searching for stories to tell. I was in a group with two other students and an adviser to mentor us.
We decided to cover a story about immigration to America since it was forefront in the news. The girl in my group was also a broadcast student, so we decided to produce a broadcast story while the other person in a group did a newspaper article about the topic. We had four out of the six days to complete our stories for the Columbia Missourian website, so we spent most of the days and nights in the J-school, diligently working on our stories.
When we weren’t working on our stories, we attended informational sessions regarding journalism skills, ethics, and tips. We also had the privilege to watch multiple documentaries and Skype or talk in person with the creator to experience a one-on-one connection with how the whole journalism process works.
Aside from the journalism aspect, I made lifelong friends from this experience. We all had a common interest, so naturally, we all connected as soon as we met each other. We endured a lot with each other from this opportunity that helped each of us grow.
From late night runs to Insomnia Cookies to dance battles in the dorm rooms, these individuals were some of the most determined and genuine people I have ever met in my life. I still keep in contact with many of them today and constantly talk about our journalism problems.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity and the values I received from this experience. I gained a great sense of independence and responsibility from this workshop. Being able to write and produce a story on any topic we wanted and explore Columbia by ourselves, provided me with a sense of ownership I’d never encountered before. I would never trade this experience for anything the world; I truly cherish it.
MUJW not only led me to the school of my dreams, but it was also very eye-opening and further fueled my fire to become a journalist.
I can’t believe that this upcoming school year I will be a senior. These past three years have flown by, filled with lots of laughs, friends, memories, and homework. Even though this will be my last year at Washington High School, I still have a lot I would like to accomplish.
First off, I want to make the most of my senior year. I hear many people say: “You’re only in high school once.” I am finally beginning to realize that my time at Washington High School is coming to an end.
Being a senior comes with a lot of “lasts.” My last time cheering in the student section. My last time playing a sport. My last prom.
I want to finish this year not regretting that I didn’t go to cheer on the soccer team, dress up for spirit week, or go to all the school dances. I hope to take advantage of all the opportunities given to me and be a proud Blue Jay for the last time.
In addition, I hope to be a better teammate—whether on the volleyball court or in the classroom with BJJTV staff members. I want underclassmen and fellow upperclassmen to feel like they can trust me and come to me for anything. I want to be that person everyone can rely on and fulfill my spot as a leader.
With that being said, I will be pursuing Journalism wherever I decide to go to college. This year in BJJTV will be my best year, no doubt. I am determined to give it my all. Also, I will make many connections within my school and community that will benefit me as I prepare for my future career.
On the other hand, my greatest fear for this upcoming school year is not being in the moment. Many people have already moved onto the next step and checked out of high school. I hear them say things like, “I’m so ready to get out of this place.” Yes, I am also excited for the next step, but for right now, I am still in high school, and I want that to be a huge focus for this year.
Why not take advantage of being a kid for a little longer? I will still spend plenty of time thinking about college and the next step, because I have to in order to prepare for my future, but I want to enjoy myself and my high school years before emerging into “college life.”
I am beyond excited for this upcoming school year and what it has in store for me. Senior year is bittersweet, and I only hope my last moments as a Blue Jay are ones that will last a lifetime.
Until next time,
Life can get a little hectic sometimes, especially if you’re always on-the-go. As a high schooler who is very involved within the community, I’ve learned how to properly help others while still retaining time for myself. Therefore, I would like to share with you some of my tips to help keep things organized!
1. Set Goals
This tip may seem a little cliché, but it really does wonders. Setting goals offers a sense of accomplishment after the goal has been achieved. Many people, including myself, love this feeling; that’s why this is such a necessary and simple way to organize your life.
While setting your goals, keep in mind the ability you have to complete the goals and how realistic it stands regarding your whole schedule. I would recommend starting off with small goals: completing an assignment on time, reading for an extra 10 minutes, or even getting up 30 minutes earlier to go for a run. The little things add up very quickly and can turn into something bigger than you expected.
Overall, setting goals is an easy way to prioritize your life and accomplish things to better yourself.
2. Have a Positive Outlook
This tip is probably the hardest one for me to consistently follow, but it definitely has the biggest impact out all of the three tips.
Having a positive outlook makes me want to do more to better myself and the world around me. It also gives me the reassurance that I, along with everyone else, have the capability to achieve anything as long as hard work and commitment are included.
This not only will keep you organized with your thoughts, but it will also spark those around you. Having a positive outlook is contagious! A person with a positive outlook can easily inspire people around them to do likewise. It’s a little thing that everyone can do and in the end, will go a long way.
3. Plan, Plan, Plan!
Always know what is going on around you; it will help tremendously with staying on track. Keep a planner or a calendar with all your events in it and continuously update it.
Being engaged and physically writing or typing things out will help you remember what is going on. Once you get on a roll and have one set spot where everything is, it will become second nature to keep track of everything. It will help you stay organized and be more aware of your surroundings.
I hope you take into consideration some of these tips to help stay organized; they have definitely helped me keep my life on track, and I hope they do the same to yours!
Until next time,
Going into my first year of Blue Jay Journal TV, I expected it to be like any other high school class where I would just learn and do my work. After a couple of days in the class, I realized it was going to be a different experience than I expected.
I consider Blue Jay Journal TV my family. I've made lifelong friends and created many memories to last a lifetime.
Here are some of the memories I would like to share from the year:
Matt’s Artistic Ability
As part of our first-semester final, we were asked to create a card thanking someone we interviewed. Matt Amlong decided to write a “thank you” to one of the soccer boys he interviewed for the “The Road to State-WHS Boys Soccer” story. While he was creating the card, he asked some of us to come look at it and give our opinions.
I carefully analyzed the card, seeing an oval with a bunch of black triangles randomly drawn inside it. No one really knew what to say about it, and we all just laughed. Matt knew the soccer ball was pretty bad, so he crumpled the paper up and threw it in the trash. You could tell he really tried on that soccer ball, and I didn't want to see his hard work go to waste, so I took it out of the trash can, uncrumpled it, and hung it on the board for all to see.
Matt did make another card with a soccer ball on it that actually looked like a soccer ball, but his original card made all of us laugh so hard. To this day, the soccer ball is on the board in the classroom and reminds everyone of this funny incident and Matt's amazing artistic ability.
The Four Missing Students
One day in class, we had a substitute teacher. We all acted like we normally do and sat in our seats for attendance. No one really recognized this sub, so we weren’t really sure what to expect.
As the sub was doing attendance, she asked if any of us were in the wrong class. We all looked around very confused, seeing if there was anyone not in our class in the room. No one saw anyone that wasn't supposed to be there. After we told her that, she looked very angry and stated 20 students were in the classroom and there was only supposed to be 16.
She called our names again; we all said "here" and there were no extras, but she still didn’t believe we were telling the truth. None of us knew what to do.
After countless times of telling her there was no one else in the class besides us, Cason and Jon started counting the students in the class out loud. The last person they counted was number 16, and the sub realized she had made a mistake and miscounted.
This was one of the most confusing and funniest moments in BJJTV, and everyone still jokes about finding the four extra students. We can't find them to this day.
In Blue Jay Journal, we enter a lot of PSA contests throughout the year. This past winter, Lydia, Autumn, and I were put into a group to make a PSA about saving money to enter in the “Lights, Camera, Save!” PSA contest. As we started brainstorming ideas, we realized we would need some more help, so we asked Colton to help us. After a couple of days of filming and editing, the PSA was finally done. We were proud of the finished product and submitted it to the contest.
A couple of weeks later, John Freitag came through the door to our classroom holding a giant check. Our PSA won the “Lights, Camera, Save!” contest locally through First State Community Bank. We won $500 total, $125 each for the four of us. We were so surprised we had won and actually got to keep the money for ourselves.
This PSA wasn’t easy to make, and all our hard work for it paid off throughout the year; we won three awards for this PSA in total. This definitely is my favorite PSA, and I’m glad I created many memories to go along with it.
These are just a few of my favorite memories I have created in Blue Jay Journal TV. This year has definitely been unforgettable, and I can’t wait to make more memories next year.
Our friendship is really bittersweet though; it’s just the beginning of our friendship, and now you have to go six hours away to college. I wish I would’ve met you sooner so we could’ve created even more memories. I’m going to miss talking to you and hanging out with you every single day, but I know that you will have a blast and achieve great things. You're a remarkable person that anyone would be thankful to have in their life. Hopefully, I’ll be down at Ole Miss in the fall to visit you!
Thank you for everything you have done for me, Megan. The memories we created will definitely last a lifetime, and I can’t wait to see where our friendship goes. I could not be more appreciative to have a best friend like you, and I can’t wait to see where the world takes you.
P.S. If I ever need surgery, I’m requesting Dr. Yenzer! :-)
Throughout my high school career, trying to balance my social life, relationships, and education has presented a challenge and an overwhelming feeling of stress, but there’s always one thing I can count on to have my back no matter what and always strive to ensure my well-being—my family.
Family means a great deal to me and holds a special place in my heart that is irreplaceable. I am one to believe that your family is always there for you, and a distinct bond between each member is created that will last a lifetime.
I’m immensely passionate about family time and being with those I share blood with. The joys that come with being surrounded by these people 24/7 are indescribable. It’s like having a place where I can just be myself and feel comfortable and confident with everything I do.
Nowadays, it seems very hard for families to all be in the same place together, including my own, but I always try to connect with mine as much as I can. Whether it be eating dinner together or just asking each other about our day, I try to incorporate my family into my life every single day because I know it will benefit me in some manner—and it’s just nice to have their company.
But I don’t consider the people I share my blood with to be my ONLY family. Many individuals have encouraged and influenced my life in remarkable ways who I also consider to be my family. They hold that same place in my heart as my biological family and deserve just as much from me.
Each person in my family has shaped me into the person I am today, and I could not be more grateful to have the opportunity to spend time with them on a daily basis.
Recently in Target, I passed a little girl trying to convince her mother she needed a new toy. Her mother told her that she already had a similar toy at home, and she didn’t need another one. The little girl acquired a wretched look and proceeded to argue for the toy despite her mother’s claim.
Although this common scenario happens in almost every single store with every child, it triggered my mind to a broader concept—many people do not appreciate what they already have. As I thought more about this notion, it all started to make sense. Everyone wants “the new” when “the old” gets dull; then when they possess this so-called “new” thing, they want something else.
Why do most of us fall into this infamous loophole?
We live in a world that is always “wanting” and living in the future instead of the present. We never truly realize what we had in the first place that provoked us to want something else. Many do not discern this idea, the real trouble behind it, and the disaster it can lead our society to.
Appreciation isn’t just paired with materialistic objects; it also portrays an important component in any relationship. The deep sense of meaning a person gets when someone tells them they mean something fulfills their purpose of life and makes them feel wanted. This little act makes everyone’s heart warm and puts a smile on their face.
But the downside presented is that plenty do not show their appreciation to each other, which leads to them feeling unappreciated. Being taken for granted is one of the worst feelings, and it happens all around us. People get caught up in the fast-paced society and forget the little things to focus more on the big things in life. But without the little things, the big things would not be able to exist.
Take some time to appreciate what you have. Focus on the present moment instead of the future. Go out and thank someone who means a lot to you or just the local grocery clerk. You never know: you could change somebody’s life by just telling them how much you appreciate them and what they do; it’s that easy.
Thank you to everyone in my life: friends, family, educators. I would not be where I am today without all of you.
Cramming in homework before the day of the big test or getting home late from a sports game to get what may feel like a second of sleep; we’ve all been there whether or not you want to admit it.
The recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night can feel like an eternity away with all the factors of life, but little do many know that those sleepless nights can have a huge impact on your brain and body.
Sleep deprivation affects your brain more than you think. The hippocampus is greatly impacted by lack of sleep. This part of your brain is associated with memories; when someone doesn’t get the appropriate amount of sleep, their ability to retain new memories decreases vastly.
Being able to think clearly and reaction time are also heavily influenced with the lack of sleep. This lack of focus can be detrimental to someone’s daily life by not correctly performing or having full attention on a specific task.
In addition, sleep deprivation affects your health. Your immune system is very important in keeping you healthy; when you don’t get the right amount of sleep, it gets disrupted, causing you to get sick easier.
High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are all associated with sleep deprivation, too. This not only increases your chances of getting all these now, it also increases your chances of receiving them later in your life.
Finally, of course, you can feel more fatigued when you lack sleep which can be associated with your lack of focus causing you to not be 100% aware.
The absence of sleep is not only harmful to you, but also to others. Drowsy driving has become a serious issue lately among many drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “1 in 25 drivers (18 years and older) have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the last 30 days.” This goes to show that sleep deprivation is very common among drivers all across the nation and can happen to anyone anywhere.
In fact, being drowsy and being intoxicated are closely related with the impairments they both create. Like alcohol, sleep exhaustion slows reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs judgment.
However, unlike driving under the influence of alcohol, there is no “breathalyzer” for sleepiness; therefore, there is no way to detect if a person is “too sleepy” on the road. This makes driving drowsy even more dangerous than it already is.
Sleep is a wonderful necessity that most of us take for granted. The lack of sleep can cause your brain and body to suffer significantly. Take care of yourself now, you will thank yourself later in life. In the long run, not getting enough sleep could be the difference between life and death. Sleep wisely.
For more information on sleep deprivation click: https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-deprivation/